A Wilkinsburg man pleaded not guilty to the charges leveled against him after a Penn Hills traffic stop on June 7 turned violent as several officers and a police dog worked to detain him.
Rayquane J. Bowles-Wilds, 21, was pulled over on Chaske Street in Penn Hills after officers said he made an illegal u-turn and noticed the smell of marijuana coming from the vehicle. The arresting officer, Nathan Laero, also said the car’s windows were too dark to see inside.
Bowles-Wilds was eventually arrested because police said he initially refused to provide identification, attempted to get away and assaulted a police officer who tried to detain him. Three videos posted to social media show parts of the arrest that a group has said shows law enforcement officers using excessive force against Bowles-Wilds.
One video shows an officer put his knee on Bowles-Wilds’ head, which was against concrete, while three other officers and a police dog work to detain a writhing Bowles-Wilds.
Milton Raiford, Bowles-Wilds’ attorney, argued Monday to Magisterial District Court Judge Anthony DeLuca during a preliminary hearing that a charge of attacking a police dog was unnecessary.
“I don’t know anybody in this world that would be bitten by an animal and wouldn’t try to kick the animal off of him,” Raiford said.
DeLuca agreed and dropped that charge. He also reset his $3,000 bail to non-monetary after Raiford pointed to his client’s needs to provide for his family and getting back to his two jobs.
Raiford also requested the judge to lessen an aggravated assault charge and to dismiss charges related to possession of marijuana with intent to deliver.
Those charges, however, were held and the case will continue to Allegheny County Court in August.
Raiford said he could not argue against the charge of resisting arrest but said “there are some constitutional issues” that he would need to address in a higher court.
The defendant’s attorney became passionate at points during the hearing and at one point stood and asked Laero to show what he meant when he said Bowles-Wilds tried to “walk past” and “get away.”
DeLuca said the demonstration was unnecessary.
At another point during the hearing, Raiford attempted to admit into evidence a photo of what he said showed marks on Bowles-Wilds back made by the use of a Taser. Laero previously testified he had used a Taser three different times on Bowles-Wilds.
It was unclear during the hearing what Raiford’s reasoning was in showing the photo.
DeLuca said he and the plaintiff’s attorney, Michelle H. Shefton, had no way of verifying whose back the photo showed and declined to accept it as evidence.
Bowles-Wilds’ family and some friends showed up to the preliminary hearing.
“I want my son out (of jail). I want him to get back to his business and raising his family,” said Kisha Bowles, Bowles-Wilds’ mother. She said he has a four-month-old daughter and that her son is “a very good kid.”
“If (police officers) did something wrong to my son, they’re going to get it back. That’s the whole thing,” she said, adding she will pray for her son’s case.